Outraged residents of Bonteheuwel are determined to take back their streets from gangsterism and drug pedalling after staging a march in the area on Sunday. Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum spokesperson Judy Kennedy says that due to high frequencies of crime infiltrating the area it has become increasingly difficult to pin down the culprits but police visibility has increased to make the streets of ‘Bontas’ relatively safe for residents.
One of the main frustrations is that youth were being held ransom by gangsters in the area. The forum says that the problem had spiralled out of control as policing mechanisms fail to find those responsible for the crime.
“Drugs are being sold on every corner and gangsters are just shooting. Our children can’t play in the streets. Children as young as 12 are buying tik and joining gangs we say no more. We want our streets a safe place again,” says Kennedy.
“Police can no longer control the volumes of crime in the area as reports are coming from all over Bonteheuwel. Now we can’t say who is causing the crime.”
Helpless residents feel they are being held prisoner in their own homes. The Forum is concerned about how the gruesome crimes are traumatizing the people of the community. Kennedy mentioned that most suspicious activity occurs around the time when people leave their homes to work or children go to school and this has instilled fear in the minds of parents to send their children to school.
“The people of Bontas are gatvol of what is happening. The shooting happens at 4 or 5 in the morning. We are too scared to go to the shop. It’s like we are prisoners. They are scared to even be in their own homes from these gangsters. People stay at home they don’t go out. They don’t send their children to school they are scared,” says Kennedy.
There has been a huge outcry after a boy was stabbed due to gang violence within the school premises. Bonteheuwel police station confirmed that the march was a very peaceful one as it was strictly monitored by police officials.
“We patrolled the area through the entire march this stopped anyone from doing anything unusual or dangerous,” says senior communications officer Sikelela Zokufa.
The community policing forum is attempting to root out where illegal firearms are being sourced to gangsters. The forum believes that compared to previous years of gang violence police have struggled to pin down those responsible as residents have lodged complaints about failing prey to violent crimes in the entire area.
“People are being targeted from all over. We don’t know where this is coming from and this sets this incident of crime apart from previous years. We don’t know where they are getting these types of guns. It’s so well thought through. We are trying to resolve the matter,” says Kennedy.
The Forum has partnered with the provincial policing units to put a cork in prevalent gang violence. It has called on all provincial policing units and neighbourhood watches to combat crime in the area. VOC